Tessa Spanton SWA Artist, tutor, writer


Welcome to my blog.
This is where I write about some of the things that inspire my work,
news of exhibitions and works in progress

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Azalea Time

Azaleas at the Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park. Original watercolour

for photos and information Isabella plantation

May is the best time to see Azaleas in flower in the UK. The scent of the azaleas meets you at the gate to the plantation. Bluebells grow beneath the trees and paths wind through masses of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. Some of the paths follow a stream crossed every so often by little bridges. Candelabra primulas and ferns enjoy the moisture of the stream. In the evening the sunlight filters through the trees and the birds sing. There are fewer visitors at this time and it feels like a secret garden. This tranquil oasis is only a few miles from Central London but it feel miles away. Paths branch off into grassy clearings until one eventually reaches a small lake bordered by irises and willows. The pinks and mauves of the azaleas are reflected in it's calm waters and Mandarin ducks look hopefully for food.
I did a watercolour sketch with some of my students beside this lake.

I did the painting at the top for the Europeanstreetteam challenge theme of walking/hiking / nature. It shows the main path that follows the stream.


A Mandarin Duck

A Handkerchief tree in one of the grassy clearings.

Candelabra primula

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Work in Progress 2

I have worked on the acrylic since the last post, mostly on the trees and their foliage. I was reluctant to work over the yellow ochre areas in the top third of the painting as I liked the contrast of the ochre against the blues of the swathes of bluebells. Some of it still shows through the overpainting as it does in the foreground. I needed to work over it as Iwanted to show some newly emerging foliage. I don't think it's finished yet, I'll give it a bit of time so that I can come back to it fresh. Just seeing it here smaller brings me a new perspective.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Works in Progress



It's bluebell time. Surrey is a wooded county and there are some lovely bluebell woods to visit. Usually the bluebells are almost over by now but this year they are late because of the cold weather we have had. I have painted them many times before in watercolour. I recently started one in watercolour and one in acrylic. Neither is finished yet.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Monday Moodboard and EST challenge

The topic for this challenge is wattle or weaving. The basket is a favourite of mine. It is woven with different coloured strips making a kind of harlequin pattern and colour co-ordinates well with this big bunch of lavender. I did this small watercolour today.
It is called Basket of Lavender and measures about 18x12 cm.

It sold at my local gallery.

These colours are reflected in my Monday moodboard.

Lavender Pearl and Glass Bead Cluster Bracelet AMIdesigns N Ireland

Oya necklace. Oya is a kind of lacework. It is characteristic of Turkey. Normal lacework has two dimensions, however, whereas oya can be knitted in three.

Oya Lace Jewellery Turkey

Flower in the woods ear rings fleurfatale Belgium

Eco friendly crotched beads, made with wood and organic bamboo yarn Three Blue Bee Turkey

More europeanstreetteam moodboards here

Monday, 3 May 2010

Est Challenge

This week the theme was 'winding' and I have made a bangle.
It combines pure silk with beads and metallic thread wound round in layers. I dyed the silk fabric and strands of silk rouleau using colours inspired by subtropical seas. Cobalt and teal silk rouleau extend to tie in a bow so that the size can be adjusted if necessary. The bangle is soft and light and so easy to wear. It has a layer of plastic inside to stiffen it, cut from an empty bottle of washing up liquid which is padded with polyester wadding.

Below is another version. The silk for this was upcycled from a hand painted silk scarf. The scarf was painted by a friend, she gave it to me to make jewellery from. I made the bangle for her.